Your abilities in times of uncertainty

In a recent discussion with a client, the conversation turned to recognising that feelings of confidence tend to come and go.

Generally speaking, there are plenty of factors that influence your confidence levels at any given time.

More specifically, whilst the impacts of COVID-19 have many individuals across the globe still in its grip, how are we meant to stay confident?


" People with high assurance in their capabilities approach difficult tasks as challenges to be mastered rather than as threats to be avoided "

How do you back yourself? When new challenges arise, do you believe in yourself?

Self-Efficacy is the belief one holds in one’s own abilities and competencies.

Albert Bandura, the founder of the concept of self-efficacy stated that: “Beliefs in personal efficacy affect life choices, level of motivation, quality of functioning, resilience to adversity and vulnerability to stress and depression.”

With this in mind, I cannot help but think it is important to not lose the belief you hold in yourself -especially in these tumultuous times.

Before you could think of what you can do to improve your Self-Efficacy, perhaps understand that one of the most effective sources of Self-Efficacy is mastery of experiences:

Persist in your efforts and you will be rewarded with the understanding of how you have come to overcome obstacles. Take short-cuts and you may think that success comes easily. If your experiences have taught you that you have what it takes to achieve, you will persevere and bounce back from setbacks.

So how does strong Self-Efficacy look?

“People with high assurance in their capabilities approach difficult tasks as challenges to be mastered rather than as threats to be avoided”.

A strong sense of efficacy enhances human accomplishment and well-being.

In these uncertain and challenging times perhaps take an honest look at your strengths, your skills and your competencies.

What can you do to strengthen your Self-Efficacy?

Where you failed – you may experience lower levels of self-efficacy. However, during the moments where you achieved or mastered an experience, you show a stronger belief in your abilities.

So what can you do?

  • Think about your achievements and remind yourself of experiences that you can say you successfully achieved. Celebrate these, it forms part of the moments when you learned self-efficacy.
  • Don’t overthink your failures and be cautious about the fear of failure. Don’t spiral into a self-doubt thinking pattern. Rather think about how a moment of failure strengthened you or provided you with a learning opportunity.
  • What do you tell yourself when facing a challenge? Do you constantly use phrases like: I can’t; this is impossible; there is no way? Rather replace these phrases with: I can; this is possible; this is an opportunity; there must be a way.
  • Wanting to master a challenge means you are willing to engross yourself in the challenge. Engage yourself in a challenge – you might just master it!

Understandably frustrations, failures and setbacks are part of life – perhaps just take a moment today to believe in yourself again.

Bandura, A. (1994). Self-efficacy. In V. S. Ramachaudran (Ed.), Encyclopedia of human behavior (Vol. 4, pp. 71-81). New York: Academic Press. (Reprinted in H. Friedman [Ed.], Encyclopedia of mental health. San Diego: Academic Press, 1998).

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